#100: Portrait of a Violent Star

By Andrew Grant
Dec 16, 2010 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 6:23 AM
Courtesy of NASA/JPL Caltech/WISE Team


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

This ultraviolet image of the sun was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), launched last February to monitor Earth’s temperamental star with unprecedented precision. The purplish aura reveals high-arcing loops of 3.6-million-degree plasma that link sunspots and other magnetic areas on the surface; white lines illustrate computer calculations of how the magnetic areas connect. Occasionally eruptions on the sun are so powerful that they can cripple Earth’s electrical grids and global positioning satellites. SDO’s observations will help scientists understand the mechanism behind these outbursts—research that is particularly important as the sun awakens from its longest slumber in a century (see “Plasma Rivers Explain the Quiet Sun”).

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.